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September 23 2014

Where did the green 'alien eggs' come from that washed up on a Sydney beach?


Visitors from outer space or a natural phenomena? Surfers and early morning walkers were stunned to find thousands of 'alien eggs' on a Sydney beach this weekend.

Locals in Dee Why, on the city's North Shore, reported seeing a large number of the strange objects which had washed ashore overnight.

But rather than the green spheres being something from another planet, scientists explained they were a type of sponge-like seaweed that forms egg shapes possibly to protect themselves from predators.

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September 23 2014

Mown grass smell sends SOS for help in resisting insect attacks


The smell of cut grass in recent years has been identified as the plant’s way of signalling distress, but new research says the aroma also summons beneficial insects to the rescue. Such findings may help plant breeders know how to develop new varieties that are more resistant to insects and drought.

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September 23 2014

Liberia signs 'transformational' deal to stem deforestation


Liberia is to become the first nation in Africa to completely stop cutting down its trees in return for development aid.

Norway will pay the impoverished West African country $150m (£91.4m) to stop deforestation by 2020.

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September 23 2014

How We Can Harvest Wind Power From Tiny Flapping Flags


Wind energy typically conjures up images of towering turbines being revved up by massive, spinning airfoils. At a much smaller scale, however, it’s also possible to harvest wind power from the friction of flapping flags.

A study published today in Nature Communications describes an experimental generator, which builds a charge using mechanics that are similar to rubbing a balloon on your nephew’s head.

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September 23 2014

Study links changing winds to warming in Pacific


A new study released Monday found that warming temperatures in Pacific Ocean waters off the coast of North America over the past century closely followed natural changes in the wind, not increases in greenhouse gases related to global warming.

The study compared ocean surface temperatures from 1900 to 2012 to surface air pressure, a stand-in for wind measurements, and found a close match.

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September 22 2014

Hacked photosynthesis could boost crop yields


It is difficult to find fault with a process that can create food from sunlight, water and air, but for many plants, there is room for improvement. Researchers have taken an important step towards enhancing photosynthesis by engineering plants with enzymes from blue-green algae that speed up the process of converting carbon dioxide into sugars.

The results, published today in Nature, surmount a daunting hurdle on the path to boosting plant yields — a goal that is taking on increasing importance as the world’s population grows.

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September 22 2014

The Deepwater Search for the Antikythera Mechanism, the World’s First Computer


Sometime in the early first century B.C., a ship went down in the Mediterranean Sea, just off a Greek island named Antikythera. The wreck itself wasn’t unusual. The island was surrounded by jagged rocks, which likely caused many a boat to disappear back then. But there was something different about this one. The boat contained a trove of statues, jewelry, and — most notably — what some scholars believe to be the earliest computer known to man.

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September 22 2014

Mission To Study Mars' Climate Enters Red Planet's Orbit


He says when you look at aerial pictures of the Martian surface, you see unmistakable signs that Mars was once upon a time a fairly wet planet.

"We see evidence for lakes, for river channels, a lot of evidence for liquid water that required a very different climate from the one we have today," Jakosky says.


Related: Martian rush hour: two spacecraft arrive this week

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September 22 2014

Asteroids: between a rock and a hard place


At a press conference earlier this year, former Nasa astronaut Dr Edward Lu announced that there are around 1m asteroids in the Earth's vicinity "with the potential to destroy a major metropolitan area". He teed up an animated graphic to demonstrate how unprepared we are. The graphic showed the Earth in orbit among the dangerous asteroids we knew about and were tracking, around 10,000 of them.

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September 22 2014

What's Hiding Beneath The Surface Of Kraken Mare, Titan's Largest Sea?


The largest body of liquid on Saturn's moon Titan is the formidably named Kraken Mare, a sea of methane that sprawls some 400,000 km 2 across the moon's north polar region. Next week, NASA's Cassini spacecraft will perform a flyby of Titan in search of wave activity atop this colossal sea of hydrocarbon.

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September 22 2014

Rendlesham UFO incident: Sculpture to be installed at forest site


A 'UFO' has been built to mark the spot where an alleged landing took place in one of the UK's biggest UFO mysteries.

In December 1980, there were reports of phenomena in Rendlesham Forest, Suffolk near a United States Air Force base.


Related: Military Eyewitness Captures 'Transparent UFO' On Night Vision

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September 22 2014

Why Do People Believe in Ghosts?


Recent surveys have shown that a significant portion of the population believes in ghosts, leading some scholars to conclude that we are witnessing a revival of paranormal beliefs in Western society. A Harris poll from last year found that 42 percent of Americans say they believe in ghosts. The percentage is similar in the U.K., where 52 percent of respondents indicated that they believed in ghosts in a recent poll.

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September 22 2014

The Joe Rogan Experience with Graham Hancock, Podast #551 (JRE #551)


Here's my latest appearance on the Joe Rogan experience. Joe had a surprise in store for me about two thirds of the way through the interview. It was all very spontaneous and on the spot but I'm still thinking through the implications of my first smoke in three years!
-Graham

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September 22 2014

Pacific settlers developed gardens to survive


Analysis of ancient human bones supports the idea that the first inhabitants of Vanuatu developed horticulture as they ran out of wild resources.

Around 2500 years ago there was a shift in the Lapita people towards a greater reliance on cultivated plants such as yam, taro and banana, according to an isotopic analysis of bones reported in a recent issue of PLOS ONE.

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September 22 2014

New Large Stone Prehistoric Cutting Tools Found in China


A team of scientists have uncovered large stone cutting tools (LCTs) in the Danjiangkou Reservoir Region (DRR) of central China.

The tool assemblage, discovered and analyzed by Kathleen Kuman of the University of the Witwatersrand and colleagues Chaorong Li of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Hao Li of the University of the Witwatersrand, were excavated at a site on the southeastern edge of the Qinling Mountains.

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September 22 2014

China: Ancient Tomb of First Emperor Qin Shi Huang's Grandmother Discovered in Xi'an


A huge ancient tomb belonging to the grandmother of China's first emperor Qin Shi Huang has been found in Xi'an during excavations to expand the Xi'an University of Finance and Economics campus in Shaanxi province, northwest China.

According to China.org.cn, the tomb complex covers an area measuring 173,325 square metres, stretching 550m in length and 310 meters in width, and is the second largest tomb to have ever been discovered in the country.

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September 22 2014

They're Calling This New Species Of Hadrosaur The "King Nose"


Yes, it's got quite the schnoz — but you probably wouldn't want to mess with this giant herbivore. The recently identified species of hadrosaur measured some 30 feet long and weighed over 8,500 pounds.

Called Rhinorex condrupus, or "king nose," the dinosaur was discovered by paleontologists from North Carolina University and Brigham Young University.

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